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Fiona Fullerton, known for playing Pola Ivanova alongside Roger Moore in A View To A Kill, left acting 20 years ago. A career of journalism, property development and hands-on motherhood followed…

The consequences for a Bond girl

Fiona Fullerton talks to Sam Bennett about being a Bond girl, family, and presenting The Music From Bond – Live at Blenheim Palace…
"Of all the themes, ‘Nobody Does It Better’ is Fiona’s favourite, 'every time it comes on the radio I have to stop and listen to it,' she says of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager’s song."

“I was never referred to in the media as a Bond girl,” Fiona Fullerton says of the years in between A View To A Kill’s release and the turn of the century. “Weird isn’t it? The reaction to the whole Bond phenomenon has grown since 1999 with the internet. Since then I’m always referred to as a Bond girl, which is fine, I have no problem with that at all.”

Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace takes place 23rd-26th June, with The Music From Bond being performed on the 25th.

 

You hear actors say that a film set they worked on was like one big family, but I couldn’t imagine that being said about Bond films due to their sheer scale and the fact that everyone must be darting from one place to another constantly, leaving no time for such…“Bonding”.

“Cubby Broccoli, bless him, was a family man,” the now property developer says of Albert R. Broccoli, the Bond producer who died 27th June 1996. “He had a fantastic family around him, most of whom worked on the movie. There were people on A View To A Kill who had been working with Cubby for 20 years. There was an immense sense of loyalty and family even though the film was so huge and moving location was like a military operation. Take moving from Pinewood to San Francisco: the logistics of something like that on a film of that size are absolutely incredible, and yet there was always this lovely warmth. I remember the wrap party at the end when we were all so devastated to be saying goodbye to each other.”

Family is actually the reason Fiona’s career veered off in different directions in the mid-nineties. “When my daughter was born in 1995 I then had two small children to look after,” she says. “All I’ve ever wanted was to have a stable family life. I wanted to be a really hands-on mum who read her children stories before bed. You can’t do that in the theatre” - while Fiona is most famous for an on-screen job, her acting was primarily theatre based. “It’s an either-or situation, I chose to be with my family and it’s been hugely rewarding.

“My career as a journalist, and then in property development, really took off and surprised me somewhat,” she says. “I just love the fact that I can work from home and I’ve got two happy children. Being an absent mother wouldn’t have been very successful for me - I made that choice and I don’t regret it.

“There’s no going back,” she says of a possible return to acting. “I would be hopeless. I can’t remember where I’ve left my car keys so I don’t know how I would remember any lines.”

Presenting is still on the cards though, and June 2016 sees Fiona host The Music From Bond – Live at Blenheim Palace, as performed by The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with guest vocalists, as part of the Nocturne concert series.

It’s not the type of event she is alien to, last year presenting a fair few Bond gigs at the Royal Albert Hall. “It’s a lovely thing to do,” she claims, “and the music – of course – is phenomenal. Sitting on the stage at the Albert Hall with an 80 piece orchestra blasting out that music around me was one of the most thrilling things I think I’ve ever done.”

“I’m frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us,” came one of Judi Dench’s lines in Skyfall a few years back. But familiarity is precisely what we experience with the music from Bond. “Every one of those tunes stands up alone and is instantly recognisable,” Fiona says. “No matter what the theme song was, John Barry would put that iconic Bond twist on it in the orchestral arrangement.”

Of all the themes, ‘Nobody Does It Better’ is Fiona’s favourite, “every time it comes on the radio I have to stop and listen to it,” she says of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager’s song. “It’s Carly Simon’s haunting vocal and the lyric – it’s just beautiful.”

So Duran Duran’s ‘A View To A Kill’ has missed out on Fiona’s top spot, but she is far from oblivious to just how big they were in the day. “They were so huge,” she tells me. “At A View To A Kill’s Royal premiere Princess Diana and Prince Charles attended. We were all lined up to be presented to them and Diana was visibly excited to be speaking to Simon Le Bon – she was at her most coy and alluring that night because she was with the boys from Duran Duran.”

Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace takes place 23rd-26th June, with The Music From Bond being performed on the 25th.

“I’m just really very excited to be going to Blenheim Palace,” the presenter says. “It’s one of my favourite places, so to be part of this series of concerts is lovely. I just took A View To A Kill on as another role, not realising the consequences 30 years on – that I’d still be associated with that role and asked to host concerts and things like that. It’s an extraordinary phenomenon and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

 

- Sam Bennett

 

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